Brock Gowanlock couldn’t help but reflect a little — but only a little — as he prepared for his Canadian Football League debut when his Montréal Alouettes took on the Calgary Stampeders last Thursday.
“On the bus ride over, it hit me and stuff,” the Duncan product and rookie defensive end said. “It was something I had thought about for a long time. But at the end of the day, you can’t overthink it. It’s another football game. I’ve been through training camp with most of these guys a couple of times. At the end of the day, you’ve still got a job to do.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Gowanlock got into the Alouettes’ 30-27 Week 1 loss on the kickoff, punt and kickoff return teams, and was credited with one special teams tackle in his first regular-season game.
“They had me in the rotation for the D line, but the guys who played stayed pretty fresh,” he noted. “There’s a lot of special teams in the CFL, so I still got about 30 plays.”
It was “sweet” for Gowanlock to make his CFL debut in Calgary, where his mom, Janice, grew up, and where he had played many games with the University of Manitoba Bisons against the University of Calgary Dinos. Both of his parents and his brother Brendan were in the stands, as well as many members of his mom’s extended family.
“It felt good,” Gowanlock said. “It was a proud moment.”
A 66th-overall draft pick of the Als in 2020, Gowanlock attended camp last season, and when he didn’t make the team, he returned to the U of M for his final season. In eight games with the Bisons, he had 38 tackles, including 5.5 for losses, four sacks, and three recovered fumbles. He was named the Canada West Outstanding Lineman and a second-team All-Canadian last fall, and in April he was named the U of M’s Male Athlete of the Year.
“It was cool, for sure. It would have been a lot nicer to win a national championship with the team,” he said. “I’ve never been much about individual awards, but it was definitely an honour to receive that award.”
Gowanlock signed with the Als just before Christmas, but still had to make the team out of camp, something he may have locked up with his performance in the team’s second preseason game against Ottawa, as he posted three tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery that he returned 44 yards.
Unfortunately, the Als don’t visit the BC Lions this season, so Gowanlock will have to wait until at least 2023 to play in front of a home-province crowd.
“That would have been so awesome to go back home, but it is what it is,” he said. “[The Alouettes] didn’t play [in Vancouver] last year, either, so we will probably play there next year. That will be a nice homecoming.”
Gowanlock grew up playing minor football for the Cowichan Bulldogs and rugby for the Cowichan Piggies and Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds, and he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“A lot of guys from the Cowichan program congratulated me, so thanks to all of them,” he said. “I’m playing this year with the pride of Cowichan and looking forward to getting back there in the offseason.”